Leaves are known as nature’s nutrient recyclers.!
Fallen leaves form a protective layer over the soil. Sun light does not reach the soil directly. It helps soil retain moisture in harsh summers.
When monsoon arrives, leaves decompose and nutrients from the leaves are returned to the soil and made available for the tree again.
That is the intelligent design of nature, the cyclic design, soil-to-soil principle.
When dry leaves are burnt, gases like CO and CO2 are generated. Both are green houses gases. Both contribute to global warming.
CO is EXTREMELY hazardous to our health.
Dry leaves contain carbon.
When they are sent back to the soil, soil becomes carbon-rich.
Such soil can absorb good quantity of water during heavy rain fall events.
Utilizing dry leaves within premises will help reduce puddling during monsoon.
Provide nutrients to your garden using dry leaves from your premises. You will not have to buy fertilizers.
Mulching( covering soil with a layer of dry leaves) helps soil retain moisture. Mulching in garden, plant beds will save water.
You can create a small green patch in ur house.And best part is, you can do it using dry leaves from your own premises and wet waste from your kitchen.
There are many ways of converting these same dry leaves into manure. All that is needed is dry leaves, an enclosed space, air circulation, moisture in the heap and microorganisms. Do NOT add kitchen waste to this type of bin. You may add garden waste, lawn cuttings, dead flowers etc. Instead of going in for a store bought inoculum, use what is available at home such as jaggery, sour curd, cowdung slurry etc..
If you wish to go for a zero investment method, pile them up under trees or it pots and let nature do its job over time.
You can design your own from the many variants available. When done in a scientific way, the bin produces no smell. Does not attract mosquitoes when covered with a fine breathable cloth.
The bin needs to be opened once in 4 to 5 days to check for moisture and a little stir if possible. It takes around 50 to 60 days for the litter to breakdown completely. The resultant manure can be then mixed with soil in a 50:50 ratio and used for your garden. You can sprinkle it around ur potted plants of trees or even grow trees in the mixture, the benefits of which are all mentioned above.
Since the pile contains no Kitchen waste, even if rain water goes in, it doesnt cause any problem.
By this process, you are simply replicating the natural forest model of shedding- decomposing- sending to soil- regrowing at your premises.
Dry leaves hence are not waste, the are wealth if well managed.
Sources: Mrs Aditi Deodhar, Dr Priya Bhide
Mr Vasuki Iyengar